2006 Safari Dometic RM2551... Crashes
I have not had any trouble with the RM2551 Dometic in the past. At one time the refrigerator was not cooling below the freezer and the wife discovered that you needed to leave space on the top shelf for proper cooling below the freezer... That was all. Always kept the freezer near 0 degrees F and the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees F.
We travel off asphalt roads 50% of the time. It is part of the trailer camping off road I call Rockdocking. Last year the wife found some flat white plastic pieces in the refrigerator that belonged to the door shelves that had broken off the top outside edges that support the shelves. Dometic replaced the shelves and shipped them to us as no cost. We are using the old ones until they break down and are unusable, which has not happened at this time.
On a recent trip we camped in Wyoming at Green Mountain. It is about 90 miles northwest of Rawlins, Wyoming. The steep grade road was two lanes wide, graveled and wash boarded for 5 miles in and 5 miles out. The first evening the wife noticed the freezer was at 32 degrees F. Whoa... I went outside to touch the system and it was hot. I did notice earlier in the day that the exhaust fan had not turned on, but gave it no thought at the time. We turned the unit off, and then back on and still no improvement. The second time I stuck my head into the exterior compartment, I smelled ammonia and saw on the lower left side, alongside the metal frame supporting the tubing... a yellowish discoloration and the source of the ammonia odor.
The next morning we drove down the mountain and into Rawlins to head home. We were half a day drive to Denver, Colorado and it had been a nice 18 day camping trip in Idaho and Wyoming. The ammonia leak was very slow and we did not loose any of the food stored to get back home. Opening the front refrigerator door, the door begins to fall out... the upper hinge on the door had now broken...
The warranty for the third year of service is "parts only" and Dometic requires an inspection by an authorized dealer to check out the problem. Yeap... the cooling system was leaking and the door hinge was broken. Dometic was standing behind the warranty by supplying the replacement door and cooling system. When we figured the cost of installation of the parts onto the refrigerator, it would not cost much more just to buy a new refrigerator and have it installed. I am now going to buy a new RM2551 and keep the parts being sent for spares in the future.
Mind me, this is not a complaint against Dometic. They have followed their warranty to the letter. It is just that a Dometic refrigerator and a wash board road can be hazardous to your system. I cannot think of a solution to prevent the cooling tubes breaking loose from its frame, but the front door does have a solution while moving. I am going to find a piece of dense rubber that will fit into the space at the bottom of the door to the frame. That will keep the door from vibrating on a rough road, which is probably how the door hinge fractured off its corner. I will see to it that the wife keeps the door shelves light, as well. I have to make that assumption why the door hinge broke were due to the road vibrations on the way out of the Green Mountain area.
When it is all finished, I expect to be short about $1100, maybe a bit more after taxes. This includes $200 labor for installing a new refrigerator with two year parts and labor, compared to $425 to install the "FREE" replacement parts sent by Dometic onto the old unit and 30 days or so warranty on the repairs. The smart gambler goes to the new replacement and takes the financial hit up front...
Other than the dense rubber to insulate the vibrations of the front door, I can think of no other preventitive options for travel on uneven roads. Any ideas out there for "beefing" up the current system?